Rahab Bk. 05 Ch. 08: Endgame

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I woke early, my senses tingling. The sight of Ana and Helena cuddled together made my heart sing. They were such dauntless warriors, and for me, Ana was the centre of my universe, so what made her happy did the same to me. Our love was vast and generous enough to include in it others who were worthy of it.

Wrapping myself in my robe, I went to the door and summoned one of the maidservants. I asked her to tell Commander Kunt to be report to me.

Dressing swiftly, I was ready when he arrived.

“Any news over night Commander?”

“No, Highness, scouts report that the Mongols are gathering for one more assault, but it seems as though they are unsure how to proceed.”

“My sixth sense tells me something is afoot Commander. Redouble the scouts, and perhaps send the barge down river again.”

He went and executed his orders.

Going back into the chamber Ana and Helena were in each other’s arms kissing.

“What news, darling?” Ana asked, getting back into military mode.

I told her of my misgivings over a light breakfast. She and Helena went to dress and get ready for the day, leaving me to introspection. Today, if the plans were working, should be the day that our armies clashed on the Plain of Yerevan. There should have been a scout on his way to the Yeghergis with information, and I would know more when he arrived. Perhaps my misgivings were to do with that?

By eight in the morning we were ready.

At nine, two things happened.

We saw the barge hove back into view and a messenger despatched to us by boat; at the same moment, we saw a cloud of dust on the road. The spyglass revealed it was a scout being followed by a Mongol patrol. Ana ordered the archers to be ready when they got into range. Once they were, the accuracy of our archers ensured that the scout reached the gates. But why, as Ana asked, had he taken that risk? we soon found out.

Weary as he was, the scout, who was called Selim, told us that our army was advancing slowly because the Amir had picked up rumours that Khan Hamid was splitting his forces. He had decided to man the mountain passes with crack troops, but then to leave them to take care of themselves. The force advancing to the Yerevan Plain was not, apparently, as large as expected and so Dogu was advancing slowly, probing the enemy defences. The question was where was the Khan and the rest of his army?

Abdul’s messenger provided the answer. About ten miles down the road was a considerable force which flew the flag of the Khan himself. Greatly daring, Abdul had despatched a small force to the road and managed to snatch one of the stragglers. From him came the information that the Khan had been told in a vision that if the Jews of Yeghergis were destroyed, his forces could still win, because Allah would be on their side.

“You were right darling, there is something evil coming!” Ana said.

A quick council of war produced a consensus. Instead of the great battle taking place today at Yerevan, it was unlikely to take place until the morrow, if then, which meant that Yeghergis would have to bear the brunt of a savage attack from the Khan himself, fired up by Jihadist passion. At that point, I was signalled by one of the servants.

“Highness, we have a message from your contact, Aly.”

The message was short but to the point:

“You have been betrayed. The Khan knows you are in Yeghergis and is in contact with the Emir Dogu.”

I showed it to Ana and Kunt.

“Well that explains everything,” Kunt exclaimed, “the bastards are stitching us up. If they can kill us here, Dogu and the Khan can come to an agreement, there will be a new Viceroy, and the Sultan will simply be told that you attempted a reckless operation to save the Jews fatih escort which failed.”

Once the Khan arrived, we could be facing as many as two and a half thousand men. Just the sheer weight of numbers would, in the end, overwhelm us. This had never been meant to be a long siege, nor one against the main force. Oddly, it had had the effect of dividing the Khan’s army, which would have made it easier for Dogu, but if the latter was betraying us as a result, then ironically it would all have been in vain.

I could see and sense everyone expecting me to come up with a miracle. I had brought us to this place in pursuit of the vision and the prophecy of Danegyth; had that all been for naught? There was, it came to me, one slender chance, but if it failed, we would all go down to ruin, just as effectively as Anglo-Saxon England had.

I outlined it to Ana, Helena and the Commander. I could see that the latter was highly sceptical.

“But what is the alternative, Commander? Rahab is right, if we wait here we are liked rats in a trap. The Mongols will attack on all sides, and that will expose the weakness of our defence forces.”

“But if it fails, we stand no chance!”

“What would you rate our chances if we wait?” Helena asked.

“I see your point. Well, Inshallah, let us resolve to die like men!”

“Or, indeed, women,” Ana added.

It was good that even at that darkest hour we could laugh together.

We took the boat out to the barge, accompanied by the Bodyguard and Kunt’s elite men. I explained to Abdul what we needed.

“Highness we have only enough left for two fireballs, and at the distance needed, I cannot be sure of hitting the target.”

“That is why,” I explained, “we will proceed as I suggest. They will not be able to resist, and if you can hit either side of the Khan, that will do. Can you manage that?”

“If you bring them that close, Highness, I can at least create a fire wall that will deter the others.”

We agreed that would have to do

As we sailed down the river, I could see the great clouds of dust stirred up by the Khan’s forces. I could see from the spyglass they had no scouts, so sure were they that they had the whip-hand. That over-confidence would help us.

Collecting our small force of seventy in the boats, we headed to shore, disembarking successfully. I signalled to Abdul.

We raised the Ottoman banner which signalled that the Viceroy was present. We advanced.

As we got within sight of the Khan’s army, we could see there was a commotion. Through the spyglass I could see the Khan’s personal guard. There was much pointing. I could see Hamid’s face exultant, he was gesticulating wildly, gathering his force to attack.

A small force of about two hundred headed towards us, the rest of the army following. I was leaving this to Abdul, he had to judge. As they closed in on us, a fireball struck behind them, hitting the main army force and scattering them, setting the scrub on fire.

The Khan’s force lost its momentum, and the Bodyguard fired three waves of arrows, hitting them. Then the second fireball screamed over us, blocking the road and making the fire more intense. The main army could not see, and we attacked.

With its morale shaken, and the advance force mown down by our arrows, the Mongols presented a less formidable array than ten minutes earlier. As Kunt’s men executed a great and grim slaughter, Ana, Helena and myself pushed forward with the bodyguard. Anyone who stood in our way was cut down. We were going for the Khan.

Whatever else the evil bastard had expected, this he had not. It said something for the relationship between him and his men that they did not crowd round him to protect him, istanbul escort and as Ana took out a great brute with one blow to his vitals, they broke, fleeing into the river, where our archers took what the crocodiles did not get.

With the acrid smoke clouding the bloody field, we closed in on the Khan. If I had expected him to fight to the end like a man, I would have been disappointed. He raised a white flag, falling to his knees and begging for his life.

Much as I wanted him dead, it served me better that he should live.

Ana secured him, and we went through the great smoke to where his force was gathered, leaderless. He ordered them to lay down their arms and return to base. They hesitated, but then obeyed. We breathed a palpable sigh of relief, and then, taking him to the barge, went back to Yeghergis where he repeated his orders to the besieging force.

Thus ended the great siege, and with it the Mongol Khanate. My people had been saved. The rejoicing is with me to this day, and I know that among the people, and the Maronite Christians, there is something of a cult of me, and I have even seen an icon, which touches me. It was, as I told the Rabbi and the townsfolk, not my arm, but that of the Almighty, which had sustained us.

“But you, my darling, provided the brain-power and the nerve,” whispered Ana, squeezing my arm.

“And you, my darling, provided the guts and the power to help me,” I responded, almost faint with exhaustion. But we were not done.

I called for Kunt and for Abdul, and presented them both with sacks of gold taken from the Khan. “

These are for you, take the first in each group of six, and then reward your men.”

It pleased me that they both insisted that the Bodyguard should also be rewarded, and so we did that too.

The Rabbi was in tears, happy tears.

“My daughter, you have saved us, you are our Gideon.”

I thanked him.

“Rabbi, we need to build here a place of safety, and I will create here an enclave for you which will be ruled by Jews. This I promise”

He fell to his knees praising the Lord.

And that was what we did.

But even as I was setting in place those events, there were more immediate matters which demanded my attention.

The Khan looked pale and fearful as we came into his cell.

“Will you kill me now I have lost my use?”

“Who says you have lost your use you bastard? I have found in your Chancery clear evidence of Dogu’s treachery. What was the plan once I was out of the way?”

It was interesting that Hamid told us all I wanted to know. I hate torture, but with him would, I fear, have been glad to have seen it used.

“Once I had killed you, I was to send a message, and the great battle was to be avoided.”

“Write it and seal it and send it now!”

And that was what he did.

The events that brought an end to the long Mongol rule had taken but a few hours, and the message would reach Dogu within a few hours. It asked him to head for Yeghergis to receive my dead body and confirmation of Hamid’s success.

“Now, you bastard, you have precisely one chance of preserving your worthless skin, squander it and I shall have you placed in an iron casket and dangled from the battlements until the carrion crows eat you.”

He agreed to the plan, realising that I would keep my word. In a world of faithless men who lie as they breathe, there are advantages in being known to keep your word.

Dogu’s men would not be there until early evening, so we had time to prepare.

Ana said I made a pretty corpse. She arrayed me in my war-gear, painting a great red gash on my forehead, and coating the mail shirt with red blood. I had died gallantly.

Toward sunset, kağıthane escort a messenger said Dogu was half an hour away. We put my plan into operation.

As he arrived, he was met by the Khan, to whom we had administered a poison. Without the antidote he would die in agony within the hour, and he did not know where it was kept. It was not that we did not trust him much, it was that I did not trust him at all. Now his skin was at stake he would play his role.

Ana described how happy Dogu was to see him, congratulating him at the success of their plan. It was indicative of his frame of mind that he wanted to see my corpse.

“It looks as though the little bitch died like a man, which is I suppose, appropriate, as she liked fucking women!”

I would have known that crude laugh anywhere.

I felt his hand on my brow,

“Well she is with Satan now, and we shall rule here, not some child of a girl! What was the Sultan thinking? Well, we shall be freer of him now, and we can divide the lands as we want.”

“Do you have the other Amirs with you?”

“Not all of them, the Bashirs and that Al-Amadin bitch will not play along, but now the little bitch is gone, they have no choice,” he laughed.

“Gone am I? Little bitch am I? Did you think a mere sword thrust could kill me?”

I wish I could have a picture of the look on his face as I rose – as he thought from the dead.

He screamed.

“No, no, what witchcraft is this?”

“You thought me a witch and yet thought you could kill me, foolish man. I am come to claim your soul now!”

And so saying, even as he went for his sword, the ceremonial sword laid with me went through his heart. Thus died the faithless Dogu.

By some misfortune, we could not find the antidote, and the Khan followed within the hour. It would not have done to have preserved the man. Faithless and venial, he would have sought the first chance to betray me. There are times that Power demands ruthlessness, and this, for me was one of them.

With the two ringleaders of the conspiracy dead, I could wait for the morrow to meet the main force at the Plain of Yerevan. For that night, I needed to rest.

Ana took me to our Chamber.

“Oh my darling, you are such a brave girl. I was brought up to war and trained from an early age, but this is not your metier; you are such a darling.”

Her kisses, her embraces, oh they were, and still are, all I need. It may be just my way, or a reaction to the tension, but after such a testing moment, and having proved myself, I need just to surrender to my Ana.

We stripped and fell together, the acrid sweat of the day still on our bodies. I slid between her glorious thighs, claiming her glistening cunt as my reward. That it was pungent with the smells and tastes of a long and arduous day made it all the more delightful.

My tongue swirled around her bud, my lips fastening on and sucking as I flicked her. As I licked upwards, her hood slipped away, leaving her pearl to my ministrations. Feather-light I licked her, rejoicing in her low moans and the growing evidence of her arousal. I adored the taste of her. I felt her hands pull me into her by my hair – a favourite of us both – and knew she was happy.

As I licked and sucked, she pulled me up suddenly and kissed me:

“I love you, Rahab, oh my love this is so good!”

We kissed, embracing with passion, loving each other, and pouring it all out through our actions. Yes, it was making love, everything we did infused by that deep and abiding passion that is with us still.

Licking down her body, I made her hard nipples swell even more, and used my fingers to make her cunt even wetter. As my fingers went in and curled to touch her special place, she clenched them with her cunt, and we struggled for mastery, before she gave way, her climax long and hard and sustained. We fell together, craving the intimacy that comes at such moments. And so it was that sleep came to us; tomorrow would be a fresh beginning.

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